* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.5 percent
* Firmer German, French growth data lifts sentiment
* ThyssenKrupp boosted by robust results
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Feb 14 European stocks notched up their
seventh rise in eight sessions on Friday as firmer economic
growth in Germany and France fuelled expectations of a rebound
in corporate profits in Europe this year.
The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.5 percent at 1,332.04
points by 1214 GMT, with Italy's FTSE MIB, up 1.7
percent. It was outperforming on the prospect of a new
centre-left leader in the country believed to be committed to
The FTSEurofirst 300 index, up more than 5 percent from an
early February low, has recovered around three quarters of what
it lost during the recent emerging markets sell-off.
The French economy grew 0.3 percent in the final quarter of
2013, slightly beating expectations and boosted by corporate
investment, and German economic growth unexpectedly accelerated
to 0.4 percent on a rise in exports and capital investment, data
Meanwhile, Italy's economy grew marginally at the end of
last year for the first time since the middle of
The broadly buoyant data overshadowed a surprise drop in
U.S. retail sales in January and data showing more Americans
filed for jobless benefits last week, albeit driven by temporary
adverse weather conditions.
German industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp rose
3.9 percent, among the top risers on the FTSEurofirst 300, after
a smaller loss at its Brazilian steel mill helped it post a
better-than-expected quarterly operating profit.
Such bright spots belied a lacklustre showing in the current
European quarterly earnings season.
Half way through, only 58 percent of companies have beaten
or met earnings expectations, while half have missed revenue
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine data.
Analysts are, however, confident of a pick-up in earnings
later in the year.
"We've got some better economic figures coming out, some
more revenue streams, some more jobs basically, not lots but
more than last year. That should mean that with companies lean
and mean, with margins high, that you get some decent earnings
growth," said Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas
Fortis Global Markets in Brussels.
Gijsels anticipated 10 percent growth in European earnings
over 2014, and a corresponding 10 percent rise in the market.
Italy's FTSE MIB advanced after Prime Minister Enrico Letta
said he would tender his resignation on Friday after his
Democratic Party (PD) called for him to step aside to make way
for a new government.
Letta's decision to quit came after the PD supported a call
by its 39-year-old leader Matteo Renzi for a more ambitious
government to pull Italy out of its economic slump.
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:
Today's European research round-up